Jeri and Sam Knighton's Request for Parole, a 5-year-old who has found a new lease on life since switching to the turf last year, came from well off the pace to capture Sunday's $100,000 Mac Diarmida Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Gulfstream Park.
With Jose Santos in the saddle, Request for Parole overcame plenty of traffic trouble to register his second straight win on the Gulfstream lawn by 1 1/2 lengths over Slew Valley. Sir Brian's Sword was third, another three-quarters of a length behind. The final time for the 1 3/8-mile Mac Diarmida was 2:12 2/5 on firm going.
Macaw, the 2-1 choice in a field of 12, was eighth.
Stanley Hough trains the Kentucky-bred dark bay son of Judge T C, who earned $60,000 for the victory. Request for Parole improved to 4-2-0 in eight starts on the grass.
Rated toward the rear of the field heading into the final turn, Request for Parole was steadied off heels by Santos before finding room to make his run along the inside. He emerged from traffic trouble to challenge pacesetting Slew Valley in the stretch, pulling away late.
Slew Valley, ridden from the rail by Jorge Chavez, grabbed the lead and set moderate fractions (:24 2/5, :48 3/5, 1:13 2/5, 1:37 and 2:01 1/5) with pressure from Office Ghost. He held the lead in the stretch by 1 1/2 lengths, but could not withstand the assault from Request for Parole.
Sir Brian's Sword, Joe Bravo aboard, also had to be steadied on the final turn before following Request for Parole along the hedge, making up good ground in the stretch to get the minor award, 3 1/4 lengths ahead of Mark One.
After being outrun early, Macaw, who was looking to end a string of second-place finishes in graded stakes, lost his momentum when steadied by jockey Shaun Bridgmohan to avoid running up on rivals' heels.
Request for Parole was coming off a nose victory in a 1 1/8-mile classified allowance on the Gulfstream sod Jan. 11. Overall, the former Triple Crown contender has won eight of 26 starts for career earnings of $536,392. Robert and Bea Roberts bred Request for Parole, who is from Madison's Quest (by Deputy Minister).
The second choice paid $8.40, $4.80 and $4.20. Slew Valley returned $9.60 and $6. Sir Brian's Sword was $6.20 to show. The $2 exacta was worth $61.60.
Sforza was fifth, followed by In Hand, Spanish Spur, Macaw, Gander, Bicentennial, Prodigus and Office Ghost. Newfoundland, entered for the main track only, was scratched.